The Art of Hosting

I'm curious to know how folks are doing, and if there are things that have changed in life, or work, after our time together.

 I have had a couple of very interesting changes, one related directly, one indirectly, to being in Essex. One is that I have really begun to work more with my body to loosen up, as a direct result of seeing all of you who could sit in half-lotus or Burmese position on the floor - I used to do that (Burmese) easily, but it's been a while - Thanks to just noticing all of you and Janice's class and 'hip oiling' suggestions, I am being much more intentional about loosening up physically.

The other change has to do with EdVeeje and her art, taking me back to a longstanding interest in graphic facilitation. I pulled out a couple of books I have from years ago, bought one more, and have been playing with color and simple graphics. Then, in early August I went to a place in Maine to hear Carl Arico, who is a priest I know from the Centering Prayer community, talk two mornings about Lectio Divina, which is a way of reading the Bible contemplatively. What came together for me was looking at readings for sermons doing lectio, and then responding with notes, colors, simple drawings, etc. It is a completely different way of approaching sermon creation. I've now done it twice - it's a really interesting process.

I did get called to a little church in South Bristol Maine where I will be their part-time pastor, while I also direct a lay program for the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ. I'm heading into a busy season.

I went to the Art of Humans Being gathering because I wanted to connect with some AOH folks close to home. I was completely open about the topic - I didn't care what it was. The aftereffects of our gathering are very good, and unexpected.

Just wondering if I'm the only one having this reaction -

Peace of the turning season to each - Peggy

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Thank you for inviting this Peggy.

It is hard for me to tell what links directly to our time together. It is easy for me to tell that I feel very impacted.

One point for me that I continue to carry is the basic pattern: 1) represence, 2) repattern, 3) restory.

It may not sound like much, but I feel myself more tuned to the simple notion that there is more story available. This doesn't sound that new. But it lives in my body more strongly.

Repatterning feels like the added awareness for me that there are many doors to get to that simple notion of more story available.

Represencing precedes this.

Last week I was in New Zealand. We met with one particular person, a leader for Nelson City, advising on strategic planning for sustainability. I loved that she had lots of plans. Some that she wanted to do. Some that she should do. I loved the moment when in meeting, we just asked, what do you love in your work? It shifted us into another kind of presence, from which the pattern of energy between us was more...whole, I'd say. And from there, redefining the work.

I feel like this is with me in a lot of ways, from our time together.
Hey, Peggy, Tenneson, all

I wasn't physically at the gathering (you might have noticed... ;-)) but I was very much present in the field. I know that things have shifted for me - and I sense that it's connected with this deep evolutionary field where the meaning of what it is to be human is shifting. I feel more and more like the N'avi of Pandora - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually connected in to the kosmos in a way I was never aware of before.

So my context has shifted - that which I bring with me to hosting myself and interacting with, being in the field with, others. The meaning of why I show up has shifted. There is an awareness that humanity has a function in the Gaian metabolism. We are what sees her beauty and weeps for her destruction. We are her sensory, meaning making, story-telling function. Now that we are globally connected, the 'noosphere' can truly be born, and we can start to explore together what that might mean. We are not yet fulfilling that function fully, because there aren't yet enough of us who are conscious of it. I choose the word metabolism, as above and beyond an ecosystem: when we begin to fulfil our function, Gaia can begin to fulfil a different function in the kosmos.

And I realise I have added a new, conscious practice - that of hosting the field. Deliberately throwing out my awareness like a lasso to embrace the broadest perspective I can get my psychic arms around, and sensing into: what is the coherent pattern that is pulsing in this field? And what does it feel like to align with that? And what does it bring to the physical context that I am operating in right now?

This all sounds very grandiose, I'm sure, but isn't it just the Art of Humans Being?
Hello Peggy and all, thanks for inviting this conversation and reflection.

Like for Tenneson, it is hard for me to distuinguish what is linked to this particular gathering and what comes out of the next one, or life itself.

But I can tell all of you that my intention set at the end of the gathering - that I will not only write, but publish my book - has taken me to a next step. Just recently we started talking about the material in the book with a couple of very good friends, who were with me in the discovery of the material. It showed me that the final points of the book could not be found by myself alone. I needed the others, or we needed a collective field, to manifest and see the final strokes of the models that I have seen.

This to me is part of the new pattern: that we cannot do it on our own anymore; that the next creation will always be a collective one, in a real co-creation.
Humanity has a function in the Gaia metabolism -- wow! Thanks for this Helen.

Helen Titchen Beeth said:
Hey, Peggy, Tenneson, all

I wasn't physically at the gathering (you might have noticed... ;-)) but I was very much present in the field. I know that things have shifted for me - and I sense that it's connected with this deep evolutionary field where the meaning of what it is to be human is shifting. I feel more and more like the N'avi of Pandora - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually connected in to the kosmos in a way I was never aware of before.

So my context has shifted - that which I bring with me to hosting myself and interacting with, being in the field with, others. The meaning of why I show up has shifted. There is an awareness that humanity has a function in the Gaian metabolism. We are what sees her beauty and weeps for her destruction. We are her sensory, meaning making, story-telling function. Now that we are globally connected, the 'noosphere' can truly be born, and we can start to explore together what that might mean. We are not yet fulfilling that function fully, because there aren't yet enough of us who are conscious of it. I choose the word metabolism, as above and beyond an ecosystem: when we begin to fulfil our function, Gaia can begin to fulfil a different function in the kosmos.

And I realise I have added a new, conscious practice - that of hosting the field. Deliberately throwing out my awareness like a lasso to embrace the broadest perspective I can get my psychic arms around, and sensing into: what is the coherent pattern that is pulsing in this field? And what does it feel like to align with that? And what does it bring to the physical context that I am operating in right now?

This all sounds very grandiose, I'm sure, but isn't it just the Art of Humans Being?
Yes for the clarity of book, and other expressions that might come through you Ria. Thanks friend.

Ria Baeck said:
Hello Peggy and all, thanks for inviting this conversation and reflection.

Like for Tenneson, it is hard for me to distuinguish what is linked to this particular gathering and what comes out of the next one, or life itself.

But I can tell all of you that my intention set at the end of the gathering - that I will not only write, but publish my book - has taken me to a next step. Just recently we started talking about the material in the book with a couple of very good friends, who were with me in the discovery of the material. It showed me that the final points of the book could not be found by myself alone. I needed the others, or we needed a collective field, to manifest and see the final strokes of the models that I have seen.

This to me is part of the new pattern: that we cannot do it on our own anymore; that the next creation will always be a collective one, in a real co-creation.
How am I changing, what am I noticing since the Art of Humans Being?

Hi All – Peggy, Tenneson, Helen, Ria. A great way to join with you all from wherever we are.

Peggy, I very much value your opening this space. It seems important now, in this time as humans being on this planet, to speak into and from the middle, what moves in each of us. I also see how I have noticed things I might now have before. Centering Prayer and Lectio Devina were present in a book on contemplative meditation by Arthur Zahonc. I remembered that from your Open Space offering and now here it lives in the evolution of your work.

Telling our Stories – as part of the New Story
On the Wednesday following AoHB, as a small group of local women met in meditation, I was graced by each sharing how she is changed, how she moves differently in her work, in relationships, and in life. There was a slow, deliberate, and sacred kind of presence in our circle, holding the space, as each spoke. One woman also brought in a message she felt she was asked to give to us. It was something like, “you have conducted the experiment, gather the results, the stories. See what is to be learned”. I see this space and conversation here as a key part of that. I know that often we move away from a gathering, caught up again into the busy stream of life. We do not reflect, or share with the whole, as we might. This is very true for me. I want to not only reflect, but to actively communicate. I am intentionally doing more of that.

The future – envisioning, holding space, experimenting, writing, inquiring with others, activating – these ways live even more in me now as part of my commitment to invest in the future. At our AoHB gathering Suzanne capture our commitments that last day. For me she wrote,

I commit to trusting what I don’t know, to the unfolding future,
To the patterns revealing themselves to me …
To be on that edge, and to call others into that work as I see it unfolding,
Even when others aren’t there yet.


I live with this as intention, and where I put attention. First in my life, as you say Tenneson, how can I re-presence in every moment, especially in those situations where judgment and doubt (mine or others) jump in? What is the story that still grips me and how can I restory? Is there a question or a moment of insight that shifts the energy? In me, in the whole? What is the practice, to continually presence and re-presence? Awareness is certainly a beginning. Presencing Awareness.

Still a part of the future unfolding through me is some piece of repatterning who we are as humans. The collective capacity to inquire, to sense, to intuit, to collectively access wisdom, to know in ways we have not before - lives in me. And to trust that building this collective capacity is my soul path, even as many others neither resonate nor participate. And yet in the process of bringing the ‘ones who are called’ together, something is actively shifting, even if slightly each time, in me, in another, in the field. And this is where and how the unfolding pattern of the future potential begins to live in me. As Helen speaks – a kind of kosmic context, a greater being calling us in, to fully participate in Gaian metabolism. So I will continue holding space for evolving human collective capacity as a future pattern only beginning to take root, to metabolize into form. I feel the just-under-the-surface movements in my being, in my bones. And the Earth, moving in her own tumultuous repatterning, says ‘yes’ hang in there, stay with me, keep calling others to the edge, notice who shows up, co-create with them and me. We are in the process of rebirth – on a kosmic scale.

After AoHB, and even before, I sensed it coming - a great silence wanting to live in me. Since our time I have spent 2 intervals in my own retreat. I deeply understand now, at this time in my life, the rhythmic dance required between periods of contemplative silence and more active times with others who are called to co-create the future. I feel the yin and yang of accessing source, and pulling that back into words, into language and putting it on the page – letting language take form in the moment, and then re-sensing, revisiting, resourcing again from/with the subtle realms. Nature and silence invite and nourish that in me. As I am nourished, as I access this inner deep and wide sense of purpose, I can move from a place of aligned presence into the world. And now I gather more and more with others – who have curiosity, who know the time is now, who are drawn to the edge of the Great Turning. Can we glimpse what is just the Unknown Sea?

Constellation
Another thread emerging from AoHB is a day of constellation with Ria on Oct. 8, again at the Essex Conference Center. I hold this as an opportunity for the system to see itself and for that energetic sensing capacity to be learned, and to live in and through us as humans. Constellation becomes a tool, alive in us, to reveal in our midst the future potential we have not quite seen. Or the parts we are missing. And the tendrils for this workshop reach out into the greater ‘field’, I notice, as others who were not at AoHB hear this call to come.

Now, on Sept. 26, nearly 2 months after, AoHB still moves in me - as a call I will continually hear - to come together with others - to inquire into how we as 'humans being' are repatterning ourselves in the new story.
I want to bring here the email Steve Ryman sent to all of us on Sept. 5 - bringing into our field the knowing and learning living in him from his experience of finding his new way in the world and how he continues to live the question.

Steve Ryman, Email to AoHB group Sept. 5, 2010

My wait is over. I received word today that The Carter Center has not chosen me for their Liberia project. For the past four months I have been living with the question of “what wants to happen” and trusting that life has something in store for me. I’m disappointed because I had come to think of this project as my next work. Yet, with this decision, I now know that there is something else waiting for me. I am ready and available for whatever it is that wants to happen, for however I can be of service to humanity and the planet. And I am so grateful for the process and all of the learnings I’ve gained from this process.

While in Nairobi in April, I decided that it was time for me to leave my job at CHD where I had been working in various capacities for 35 years. I’m not ready to quit working but it felt like my work there was done and other work was waiting for me somewhere in the world. Before I even had time to announce my decision and to prepare myself for being without work, I was informed that The Carter Center was hiring for a position to work with the government of Liberia to implement a nation-wide mental health system. The synchronicity was too strong to ignore so I applied, was interviewed by phone and invited to Atlanta for an interview on July first, the first day of my unemployment.

I had a lot of questions about this project and concerns about how well I would fit with it given my values about participatory leadership and community-based projects. Could I work with high-level consultants who had the answers and who were so closely affiliated with a western model of healthcare that has not worked well here (in my not so humble opinion)? Could I bring my bottom-up collaborative approaches to a top-down project design? Based upon my sense of comfort with the team from The Carter Center and with my honest questioning during the interview, I convinced myself that I wanted the position and, if I were offered the position that I would take it and find ways of introducing my values and approaches. Yet, there continued to be some question in my mind whether this was a good fit.

My learning from this is that I am deeply committed to participatory and collaborative processes. I believe in self-organizing systems and in the power of emergence. I’m no longer interested in trying to make things happen. I want to be discerning and to align myself with what wants to happen.

Living in a place of unknowing and uncertainty for the past several months has been a difficult and very rewarding experience. It has taught me to surrender and to listen. It has also helped me to make a distinction between my life work and making a livelihood. There are so many needs in this world that call for my involvement if I can just listen and remain open and receptive. When I get anxious about earning a living, I tighten up and become fearful. From the restricted and fearful place, all I can think about is how is money and how I will support myself. In the open and receptive mind space, I am able to trust that there is abundance in the world and that if I am doing my life work that my needs will be cared for.

While waiting to hear whether I would be going to Liberia, I have had the opportunity to travel and to visit with many friends and to meet lots of new friends. In the process, I was often in conversations about the mental health issues in Liberia and these conversations have opened some amazing doors. In the process, I’ve gained a lot more clarity about my skills and my passions, about what is important to me. As a result, I am much clearer about what I have to offer and how I would like to be of service. What I have learned is that I feel called to:

•Social healing – how circle processes, storytelling and mutual support can heal individual and collective pain and responses to traumatic life events.
•Social justice and peace work – This has been my passion for years but I’ve often been turned off by the “anti” in anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-oppression, etc. The “pro” approaches of conversational leadership, empowerment and participatory leadership offer another way that fits with my values and skills.
•Transformational coaching – I am a good coach and a very skillful practitioner of the wicked question and I believe that these skills can be a powerful contribution to change processes.
•Participatory leadership – I have been involved in the nitty-gritty, day-to-day challenges of implementing self-organizing teams and shared leadership for over 20 years. As a result, I know the challenges and I have wisdom to contribute to the emergence of new organizational structures and styles of leadership.
•Holding space – There is a role for me as one who can listen and hold the safe space necessary for difficult emotions and difficult conversations. This is more than just an introvert sitting on the sidelines and is a skill that I have come to recognize and value.
•Healthcare – Having spent 35 years in healthcare, I have an understanding and appreciation for the challenges and the pain experienced by healthcare workers and I know firsthand that our healthcare systems are not achieving the desired outcomes. New conversations are needed about how individuals and communities can support real health and I want to be part of hosting these conversations.


So, what’s next? What wants to happen as my next phase of work? What doors will open to me as the Liberia door is closed? These are the questions that I am living with today. I am excited to discover how I will be able to be of service and I am curious to discover with whom I will be collaborating. Mostly, I am really grateful for the opportunities for learning and growing and for service. What a gift to be alive at this time in the world.
From Holly Masturzo, Sept. 12, 2010
(Here I post for Holly. Please see the full invitation document attached. I feel the blessing of grace in the sacred and gentle way this quest is held. Judy)

What is the question most alive for you right now?
AoH Friends,

One of the practices I most appreciate in the Art of Hosting -- and the linked World Cafe and Open Space communities -- is the capacity of holding powerful questions.

I have been listening in for an artful, simple way to connect and visualize the shared learning I hear unfolding in the Art of Hosting community, among other compatible networks I enjoy learning with, and my local teaching practice.

The invitation below offers a collective project. The invitation is being shared with this list, the Contemplative Mind in Higher Ed group I posted on last month, a variety of writers & artists I am delighted to know, as well as my current and former students. Feel free to share it further.

I am curious what we might see and sense if the powerful questions we are living with now would be named and made physically present to us as a whole. A shorter description of the project follows below, with fuller invitation attached. Collaborations welcome.


YOUR QUESTIONS, an Invitation

This World is Not Conclusion. – Emily Dickinson

Our most powerful questions are live things, of the material world.

What is the question you most want to ask of this life, of our times?

What is the question most alive for you right now?

I invite you to make your question real by creating a small, beautiful card that names your question. I invite you to offer this question to the shared learning of our human community.

Please send your question on a piece of paper no smaller than 3” x 5” and no larger than 4” x 6” to:

Holly Masturzo, Our Ellipses
7643 Gate Parkway, Suite 104 – 109
Jacksonville, FL 32256

I will be accepting questions from September 1, 2010 to May 1, 2011.
I agree to sit mindfully with each question I receive, and to intentionally harvest the learning that emerges from this project.

Questions will be shared with students in my Humanities courses -- who likewise are working and dialoguing around their own questions and will share their creations -- and may be posted anonymously, without compensation, on a blog or other digital space (my own offered question is posted here).

I also look forward to inviting specific participants to share more fully the story of living with their questions.

Longer invitation attached; we welcome collaborations as the project unfolds. Please feel free to forward this invitation, or link to the invitation as it appears on our learning community's Facebook Fan Page.

Yours, Holly

**A note on language: admittedly this invitation is offered in English. Yet I am aware that your most powerful question may come to you in another language. Please know that I welcome the language in which your question arrives; receiving questions in languages other than English will create the opportunity for us to find new ways of being with them and with each other. And I certainly invite help on translation.
Attachments:

I’m no longer interested in trying to make things happen. I want to be discerning and to align myself with what wants to happen.

~ from Steve’s note above

 

 

Hi everybody, 

 

I trust this note reaches you and yours well and warm, contented, in good health, and at ease. I'm two years late, but better now than never. May it spark another round of reflection and communication.

 

I've thought of you often, the space we hold, and that beautiful retreat center in Essex. I've often thought to write this note and how. Truth is, I got caught up in my new story. Now that I’m ready for the next chapter, I write for your help again, as you were instrumental in the chapter just closing.

 

Our time together preceded, and precipitated, huge change in my life. AoHB was a portal into the new story. I knew I needed to leave Dallas. There's a time for aphorisms about blooming where you're planted and there's a time to get the hell outta Dodge.

 

I was embracing the idea of my new story and, to that me, it looked like a return to college for some higher ed. When you've read extensively in one genre, you can't begin to imagine scripting outside that genre. Which is to say, I did not end up at Antioch University for a Masters in Organizational Design. Which is super.

 

Within 1 month of our meeting, I followed a lead from a friend of a friend, more like glowing Divine Guidance, to a yoga retreat center, ~ ashram, in northeastern Pennsylvania. Within 2 months of our meeting, I moved here. I do their social media, as I did for AoHB. I live in circumstances that are physically exactly what I specified in previous visioning exercises.

 

For two years, I've lived and worked in a not-quite-intentional community. I've been initiated into the 5000-year-old living tradition of the Himalayan sages. In that sense, it’s felt like a homecoming. I've learned and lived yoga and Ayurveda, spirituality, holistic health. Were I to tell you all I've learned here, I'd need to publish a catalog. Not to say that I've reached the end of the lessons here, just my capacity to assimilate them.

 

Sidebar: I’ve (re)accessed a conscious, not just academic, understanding of the subtle violence of patriarchy, colonialism, top-down organization structures. Also, through counterpoint, I’ve begun my journey back to the Divine Feminine, the sacred role of woman as healer, power, force.

 

One exercise we did at Essex was the very first time, despite years of work with coaches, that I was able to claim my dream. As with many exercises in this toolbox, it SOUNDS simple enough, but I almost gasp to tell it, or lapse into nervous giggles.

 

I drew a beachfront house.

 

That’s it. It’s huge. Power of place, etc.

I’m now visioning towards that.

 

I am so thankful that I get to live on a beach in a warm climate with saltwater breezes and fresh air in a culture of joy and generosity in and near a diverse worldly community.

 

I am so excited to write the story that is mine to write.

 

 

 

Here’s how you can help –

 

I need a location and an introduction.

 

 

 

Here’s what I can do –

 

I can consult on social media, marketing, copy editing, copy writing. I can teach yoga. I can teach children (certified ESL teacher). I can housesit. I can personal assist. I can elder care. I can nanny. I can admin, clerical, waitress, bar tend, etc etc.

 

I will work at the above tasks for livelihood part-time. The rest of the time I will attend my life’s work. I will write. I have a story. It’s ready. I’m ready. I am looking for somewhere beautiful to write it.

 

 

 

I look forward to hearing from you. How are you living the new story? What’s resonating for you? What’s it like? How’s it been? Can I help you with anything? Can I facilitate key introductions in Dallas or in the yoga community?

 

And, do you know any beaches that are looking for another kindred soul?

 

Deep bows and distance hugs,

 

Thank you,

 

Suzanne

 

 

 

HI Suzanne! Nice to hear your story of what happened in the meantime, since we met in that AoHB. You probably know there was another one this summer.

Of course, I'm too far away for you to offer anything of a beach or related to that.And so far I don't need any introductions into Dallas (which I only know from TV, from the series)

And I don't know how many people are following this online conversation, so maybe you could post it to the emaillist that we had (ask Judy if you need it) or post it to the AoH group on Facebook - it will reach wider!

With love to you!

Ria

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